Examining an Executive Function Rating Scale as a Predictor of Achievement in Children at Risk for Behavior Problems

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Abstract

Evidence suggests that executive function (EF) may be a potent and malleable predictor of academic achievement in children. Schools may be able to use this predictive power if researchers develop EF measures that not only have ecological and construct validity, but also are also efficient and affordable. To this end, Garcia-Barrera and colleagues (2011) developed a behavior rating scale from items on Behavior Assessment System for Children-Teacher Report (Reynolds & Kamphaus, 1992) to screen children for deficits in EF. It is important to know how well this measure fits and predicts data from young children identified as at risk for behavior disorders because this population is often the focus of prevention and intervention efforts. The present study used confirmatory factor analysis to investigate how well the factor structure of the EF screener fit data from 220 kindergartners at risk for developing behavior disorders. The relationships between EF and academic achievement in math and reading were also examined. The confirmatory factor analysis results indicated adequate model-data fit, but the multiple regression models yielded trivial effect sizes, indicating EF scores did not predict well either kindergarten or first-grade achievement scores when controlling for gender and intelligence scores. The study's limitations and future research needed on the convergence of EF measurements were discussed.

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